The most recent round of Obama appointees, however, are so ill-qualified that even The Daily Show’s John Stewart made fun of them. The ambassadors-designate to Argentine, Iceland, Norway and Hungary had never stepped foot in the country to which they would be accredited as the U.S. representative.
Their main qualification seems to be that they raised millions for the president’s reelection campaign. Sure, blatantly political appointees are nothing new, but this latest batch apparently can’t even be bothered to Google the country they’d serve in as ambassadors.
The Obama administration has made some good political appointees, such as Louis Sussman, former ambassador to London. I had the privilege of serving on the U.S. Information Agency’s Oversight Board with Sussman for several years.
But you don’t nominate someone just because he or she raised money for the president, particularly if they lack knowledge of the country to which they would represent the United States.
Argentina is a linchpin country in Latin America with politically unstable leadership. Norway is one of Europe’s largest energy suppliers and the NATO bulwark on the Northern Flank. Iceland has had a tough economic recovery and is strategically located in the heart of the North Atlantic. Hungary is a former Soviet state and a fellow NATO member that borders Ukraine.
It’s a sad commentary when not only TV commentators, but late-night comedians make fun of America’s representatives overseas.President Obama once vowed to “have civil servants, wherever possible, serve in these posts.” What happened to that promise?